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24 Hours in Police Custody sparks debate on knife crime

16 May 2019

The stark challenges of tackling knife crime were demonstrated at a special screening of 24 Hours in Police Custody at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday (14 May).

Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire took part in a panel discussion about knife crime following a special Parliamentary viewing of ‘Knifed’ which focused on a double stabbing in The Mall and the murder of 18-year-old Azaan Kaleem, both in Luton last year. She was joined by Azaan’s mother Roseann Taylor, Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield, MP for Croydon and Chair and founder of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime Sarah Jones MP, and Simon Ford, Executive Producer of 24 Hours in Police Custody.

During the 30-minute discussion, panellists were invited to give their views on the increase in knife crime across the country, and answered questions from the audience which included people with personal experience of knife crime, and former gang members.

ACC Sebire said: “’Knifed’ is an incredibly important programme which demonstrates the challenges that families, police forces and emergency trauma care services across the country are tackling, but more importantly it shows young people the consequences of knife crime. There are consequences for every action, and in some cases those consequences can be fatal. To illustrate that, we were joined on the panel by Roseann who lost her only child to knife crime. We have all heard the statistics about knife crime being on the increase, but behind every one of those statistics is a family, and that’s something we must never forget.

“We’ll continue to tackle knife crime in Bedfordshire, but I think it’s important to take a wider approach that involves our communities and partner agencies, and providing opportunities to young people to divert them away from crime. Police can’t tackle this alone, and arrests are not the only solution.

“I’m pleased that others also share this viewpoint, and I think the panel discussion opened up some interesting points from the different agencies involved. We will continue to work with our partners and the community, and by doing that I know we can make a difference.”

Officers from Bedfordshire Police and the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, who worked on the investigations, were among those invited to the screening. They were joined by Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway who joined the debate to reinforce the importance of creating opportunities in the community to mentor young people away from a life of crime.

The episode was the third in the eighth series of the BAFTA-nominated documentary which follows Bedfordshire Police. 'Knifed' attracted more than three million viewers when it was first broadcast in March.

It is now being shown in schools across the country to help educate children on the realities of knife crime.

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